Are electric cars more expensive to insure?

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Whether you’re considering an electric car for the cutting-edge technology, the fuel cost savings or the environmental benefits, it’s important to understand the specifics about EV insurance.

Despite their higher cost, there are more electric vehicles on the road than ever. Insurance companies, in turn, have responded with customized offerings.

Here’s what you need to know about how an EV auto insurance policy differs from traditional car insurance coverage – and what cost differences you should expect.

Insurance for electric vehicles: special considerations

You won’t be required to purchase a special electric vehicle auto insurance policy just because you drive an EV. Car insurance coverage is the same whether you have a gas-powered car or electric car, and there isn’t any special policy you are mandated to buy outside of your state’s minimum required auto insurance coverage.

Depending on the coverage options you choose and even where you live, EV auto policies will include some combination of:

  • Liability coverage, including property damage liability and bodily injury liability coverage, that pays out for others harmed in an accident you cause.

  • Collision coverage, to repair or replace your vehicle if you’re involved in an accident where someone else isn’t the at-fault driver.

  • Comprehensive coverage for other-than-collision damage, such as vandalism, theft or weather-related events.

  • Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist, in case you’re hit by another driver who doesn’t have auto insurance or whose limits aren’t enough to cover your losses.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP), to cover your medical bills and other expenses from an accident like lost wages or home health care.

  • Medical payments (Medpay) coverage, to help with things like co-pays, medical deductibles, prescriptions, and procedures following an accident.

Select EV drivers have the option of specialized EV auto insurance policies. This is especially true for drivers of certain Tesla models in select states, who can purchase coverage directly through the manufacturer. This Tesla auto insurance offers many of the same coverage options mentioned above in addition to gap insurance/auto loan protection in some areas.

In the future, carriers may begin offering EV auto insurance policies that also protect the vehicle’s high voltage battery, at-home charging stations, and other charging equipment and parts that aren’t covered by typical policies.

Electric car insurance costs (Hint: They’re higher)

While not always the case, you can usually count on EV insurance premiums being higher than those for conventional, gas-powered vehicles. The actual cost of your coverage will depend on your driving record, age, gender, location, credit history, coverage options, and the vehicle you drive.

There are also some special considerations and features of EVs that can impact your car insurance rates. Here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Electric vehicles tend to have newer and more updated technology, which can be costly to replace and difficult to source.

  • While the purchase cost of EVs has been gradually declining, these vehicles are still more expensive on average than comparable gas-powered vehicles. Because of the higher cost of replacement, carriers may charge more for full coverage, including comprehensive and collision coverage.

  • If your EV is involved in an accident, the high-voltage battery, which powers the electric motor, could be damaged and need replacing. Depending on your vehicle, battery-pack replacement can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

  • Parts for certain EVs may be limited due to small manufacturing processes. This can make the repair process notably more expensive and result in long delays.

  • Not all repair shops are equipped to work on EVs, so your vehicle may need to go to a special shop following an accident. This can be more costly for your insurance company.

What about hybrid vehicles?

If you own a hybrid vehicle, you’ll encounter some of the same issues with auto insurance rates as EV owners. Hybrid cars have a high-voltage battery that maintains the charge on the vehicles’ electric motors. Repair and replacement can be expensive, and that cost is reflected in the policyholders’ premiums.

On the other hand, hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius are self-charging, so you won’t need to worry about installing a charger at your home.

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Tips for insuring your electric vehicle

When shopping around for a car insurance policy for your electric vehicle, keep these things in mind to get the right coverage and snag the right price:

  • Research and compare car insurance companies that specialize in EV coverage; these carriers may have the best network of appraisers, parts suppliers, and body shops if and when you need repair. Some offer EV-related discounts that will save you money. For example, Farmers offers a discount to customers in California who drive electric or hybrid vehicles.

  • When comparing carriers, ask whether the policy covers battery replacement, home charging stations or loss of use coverage, and if other additional coverages are available. While this isn’t common yet, you may find a carrier that covers accessories and auxiliary costs involved with your electric vehicle.

  • Be sure to take advantage of rebates, tax credits, discounts, and incentives offered to EV drivers. These might include extra savings for vehicles with autonomous/self-driving or special security features.

  • Request car insurance quotes from multiple carriers — including your renters or homeowners insurance provider. Bundling policies with one carrier is a tried-and-true way to get the cheapest rates.

  • Lastly, read your policy terms and conditions carefully so you understand what is and is not covered. You may want to add supplemental coverage or increase your existing coverage limits to better protect yourself.

Read more: With car insurance rates surging, here are 8 ways to cut the cost of your next bill

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity because of their low emissions and fuel savings. But EVs are still new enough that replacing or repairing them is very costly. Because of this, you should expect to pay more for insurance.

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